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The Creeping Mange

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Inspired by another thread, I decided I would share with you, my compatriots, some of my darker dreams. Now I often have your average silly nonsense dreams. But occasionally I have nightmares that… well, it’s hard to explain. They say that the time you dream is equal to the time you sleep, but these dreams feel like they last for days, weeks, months, years. I even sleep and dream in these dreams, creating a further level to the madness. Just the other night I had a very vivid dream that left me a bit shaken, and I will attempt to share it with you.

The underpinning of this dream is that in the dream I had a separate set of memories. I knew the people there; I could recall and draw from former experiences years back, and not in the sense of your normal dream. No, this was as if I had lived my twenty years here, and that everything around me was not only common knowledge to me, but filled with layers and layers of history that sprung to life before I even met them. The first stark point of the dream is coming upon a simple brick building a few stories in height. A complex of sorts, made in a style that would be familiar to those who have ever traveled through a town that did most of its growing during the late 80s and early 90s.

I enter the building. I belong here. Not home, but close to it. At the moment I cannot recall why I belong there, but upon entering I recall that it is a college. I converse with students, I go to classes, I do the things that a student does. I return to my home, same as my real home, sometime in the night. And when I sleep I dream of that place. I dream of it covered in a seething, creeping gunk. I dream of the people mangled but still moving. Alive, if that word could be appropriate. I wake, and I return to the building. But the schedule is different now. I am in different rooms. And even in the dream I realize this is odd.

Halfway through my day I am accosted by a young woman who instantly stuns me as more beautiful than anyone I had ever seen. Angelic, soft, caring. Just seeing her profile from across the hall as she approaches me leaves me calm, happy, benign. She is a few years older than me. I know this because I know her. Her name is Gigi.

She smiles at me as she takes my hand and leads me to a hallway a little less crowded. She asks how my day was, how I was feeling. I am struck so dumb that I forget how I know her. I cannot place her. I assume she is another student, and I goofily respond in bland answers. I am fine, I am doing fine. Today is alright, just like all the days before it. There is nothing wrong. When I give these answers, however, her face contorts. I can suddenly feel her piercing me, and I become afraid, but her face is still so soft and gentle. Her kind look returns as soon as it faded, and she gives me a nod and sends me on my way.

I finish my classes, but as soon as I leave the building, I realize that I cannot remember a single thing that I supposedly was taught. Not a single lecture, not a note, not a page. I shake this off as being lazy and forgetful, but it irks me that my up-to-now colorful memory is being hazed. Again I dream of that place in the muck. And now I not only dream of it, but I dream of myself in it. I walk among the freakish, throbbing… what can only be described as pulsating mounds. I see my friends and teachers crawling amongst the filth, their bodies morphed and contorted, and I lean in to softly touch one of the mounds. It is purple, such a soothing color. And I think I could see -her- through it… what is she doing here? I touch and the filth instantly latches to me. It crawls along my skin, under my skin, in my blood, in my bones. I can feel it pierce my very soul, and for a brief moment I am stricken by such pain and fear that even remembering it shakes me to my core. Then I wake.

Now when I return to the building, I cannot shake these feelings anymore. Even as I drive near it I can feel something amiss. I look at my hand, and it is covered in a thick, purple gunk. I shake it furiously and swerve off the road, but with a second glance, it is gone. Other cars stop along the road, to help me I assume, as I am halfway in a ditch. But the things that come out of the cars, I cannot face them. Their empty faces, the way they move in quick, jilted steps, like they are being tugged along on strings. I slam on the gas. I hit one of the poor creatures as I go. But when I get to school, everything looks normal. Everything was fine. Perhaps I was just daydreaming.

New classes again. This time I don’t even notice. I do notice, however, that my friends, my other students, they are acting more aggressive. They taunt me and tease me. I don’t recall being quite this reviled, but I take it as it is. Midday, and she comes around again. Sweet, merciful Gigi. She asks me about my day, and now I can’t lie. I tell her only simple things, but more than brushings off. I tell her I’ve been having odd nightmares and that I’m not quite feeling myself lately. She nods knowingly and smiles sweetly at me, patting my cheek as she does.

“That’s okay; I think you’re doing just fine. Keep your chin up.”

The next time I dream it is not so vile. Not vile at all in fact. I am back at the building, but it is normal. No sign of whatever the gunk was, none of the beasts, nothing at all. It is empty, and the next day I wake up calmer, happier. When I return to school, however, I am again greeted with scorn and revulsion. Even alone in the courtyard between classes, I can hear them, in my head, picking away at me. I know they are talking about me. I know the horrible things they say about me. How dare they. They don’t know me. They are filth. What sort of people get joy out of taunting others? I approach one of them. A man. What’s his name? I don’t know his name, but I know his face. His smug face. I still cannot recall his name as my fingers are wringing through his mouth and eye sockets, as his jaw breaks beneath my grip and his skull collapses. I cannot remember his name, but I'm sure he will remember mine.

What did I do? I couldn’t have done that. No, not possible. No one around me seems to notice. No one accosts me or shrieks in terror. Was I daydreaming again? It felt so real, and I can still see his corpse. I can see it writhing on the floor, his head split open and mushing its contents onto the ground. But no one else can. They step through him, step over him. It’s getting worse. I turn to shamble away, feeling weak and sick, but who do I bump into? Sweet, angelic, loving Gigi. I feel clean again when she pats my shoulder and gives me a wink.

“Buck up champ!” I turn around, and the body is gone. No, not gone, standing, talking, no wounds. A daydream. Just a daydream.

More classes. More people staring. Are they talking to me? I’m unsure now, confused. I stare at my books, and they writhe. The words gargle together and spit out profanities at me. I tear the pages out, I scream and wrench the book apart, but no one seems to mind. I storm out of class and go to the door. I push it open and am now standing in the courtyard. But I can not get out. Not a physical or mental obstruction. There is simply nothing else. I look out along the lawn, and I see infinite expanse. Not of trees or gravel or stars. Just… empty. Where am I? I must have fallen asleep.

This doesn't bother me however. I accept it, I return to the inside. I find an empty classroom, and I lay on the floor. I do not dream this time. I have quiet, contended sleep. When I wake, the classroom is full of people, and I am lying across what now appears to be a professor's podium. I get up, I leave. The room looks different, but I’m not in a mood to care. Back in the hall though, they do notice me. They point, they laugh. I do not understand why. There doesn't seem to be anything wrong with me. Anger wells up again. Filth, all of them. Scum. Wastes of flesh. How dare they. That is what I am thinking as an arm snaps in my grip. It is what I am thinking when I hear a woman squeal as I dig into her neck with my nails. It is what I am thinking when my teeth tears a chunk out of someone’s side.

I blink. I will myself to wake up. I want to. I flutter my eyes; I try to flail my -real- arms. But there is no waking. I stand over these bodies, the warm blood dripping down my chin, and I will not wake. Now they notice me. They stare in horror, they pull back against the walls, they shriek in ungodly voices that makes my mind quake in my skull. I run. There are no more classrooms. No. No students. No professors. These people are dressed strangely. White clothes, drab. Who are these people? Two of them, large men, they approach me. They are talking. I know those voices. “Calm down buddy. It’s alright. No need to get all worked up, come on, let’s get you back home.”

Back home. I’m led down the hall. It seems to be getting longer. They lead me into a bathroom. Why a bathroom? There’s a line of them in this hall. Both sides. Small, self-contained bathrooms. They toss me in, and I stagger over to the toilet and lurch up my lunch, along with a few entrails I picked up from somewhere. No, no, those aren't real. Those are just a hallucination. All that’s really there is food and stomach fluid. I repeat this to myself many times before I lay myself on the cold floor and sleep. Where was Gigi?

The dreams that come now are gentle. Soft. I dream of sweet, sweet Gigi. She reassures me that everything will be fine, and I believe her. Even when I wake up back in the bathroom, by god I believe her. I stumble to the door, accidentally banging my forehead across the wood… no, no, metal. The metal door. I’m not hurt. I rap my palm against it. I do not try and open it myself until many minutes… hours later? But it opens for me when I tug, and I stumble into the hall. Everyone is back. They do not look at me, they do not recognize me. I feel so sick. I know where I have to go. Another class. I slump into a seat and bang my forehead against the table. I am not bothered by the others there. Even when I again splurge my stomach contents, I am not bothered. It seeps across the desk and floor. It’s black and purple… the pulsating, sickening goo. Did that come from me?

It stretches itself out slowly, and then begins moving mechanically, with sharp, quick bursts followed by slow crawls. It begins attaching to people. They notice this, the ones who are affected, but no one around them does. They squirm and scream. They yell for help, they look at me and scream for help. They reach their hands out to me as the pulsating mass engulfs them and burns them away, turns them into… into whatever it is. I stand, I stumble, and I fall down the stairs outside of the classroom and strike my forehead against the railing. I scream as loud as I can, I think I’m babbling, I must have a concussion. The people in white are here again, and so is she. So is Gigi.

The men pick me up and lead me to the top floor of the building. Into an office. I am pulled, sat down on a very stiff chair. Gigi sits across from me, behind the desk. An administrator? She seems very young for that. She is only a few years older than me. She frowns softly at me.

“I had really hoped you had gotten past this,” she says in a calm, soothing voice. Again I feel cleansed of whatever ills I had just performed.

“I… I don’t know what to say… it’s getting more frequent.” This is me talking now, but I’m not sure what I’m talking about. The words come out instinctively, but without recognition on my part.

She nods. She understands. Of course she understands. She would, kind, soft, caring Gigi. She stands and walks towards me very slowly. Her hand is on my shoulder. It feels so warm. I am suddenly reminded that I feel cold. Very cold. But her hand is warm, and that is all I need. “You were doing very well. We want you… I want you to know that. I think that there is still work left to do, but we are getting somewhere. I hope you feel the same.” Though I am at peace listening to her, I find my eye drawn to something in the corner of the room. Pulsating, thick, disgusting. The filth is even here? How could it be so close to pure, innocent Gigi?

I stammer, my breath is caught in my throat. It is coming closer. I don’t want it to touch me. I do not know what it is, but I do not want it to touch me. I know that if it does, something terrible will happen. Gigi has finished circling behind me. What was she saying? She kneels slightly in front of me, so we are eye to eye. “I know your time here has been very hard. We understand, we really do, the pain you are going through. But you have to help us. You have to work with us. This isn't a one sided ordeal.” I simultaneously do and do not understand what she is saying. My mind knows, but it is hiding it from me. The thing is creeping closer. What does it want? Not here. Not her. It could never have her.

She’s dressed in white too. Not a student, not a professor. What is she? I know. It’s at the tip of my tongue.

“I … I know, doctor. I know. I've really been trying. But it’s getting real blurry. The dreams… they are very… very vivid doctor. Sometimes I fear that… that the violent dreams, the violent -me- is the real… that I am slowly fading away. And I must admit, doc, that… I’m quite getting that feeling right now.”

That is me speaking, but not of my own volition. That is not even my voice. I don’t talk like that. What is going on? Sweet, sweet Gigi. A doctor? But she is only a few years older than me, and I’m a college student. This isn't making sense. I try to put it together, but the filth, it’s getting closer and closer. The nearer it gets, the further my concentration breaks.

Oh god, dear god. Not her. It is touching her. Not dear, dear Gigi. She isn't reacting, how could she even know? It’s crawling on her, creeping around her, consuming her, infesting her. Please god, not gentle, kind, loving Gigi. She takes my chin in her hand and smiles, but now the thing has got her. It wraps around her face, and now I see it. I see the blank, soulless, pulsating figure of a skull where her beautiful face was. And the voice. The voice I can hear now. I can hear it creeping at the very back of my brain. “Do not struggle. We are here to help. You are very, very sick. We will cure you.”


Original author unknown

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